Update: It has since been reported that Stephen Anderson signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals.
Stephen Anderson has been a quality depth tight end for the LA Chargers for multiple seasons now and even filled in at fullback while Gabe Nabers was hurt in 2021. Many fans wanted to see Anderson return for a depth role in 2022, but the free-agent tight end ultimately will find a new home in 2022.
While details around Anderson signing with a team have not yet been reported, Anderson himself took to Twitter to announce that his time with the LA Chargers was coming to an end.
Anderson walking away this offseason always seemed like a realistic possibility that Charger fans should have braced for. While he has been an important depth tight end, he has not gotten a big role in the offense and that likely would not have changed if he returned in 2022.
The Bolts signed Gerald Everett to be the team's new primary pass-catching tight end, brought back Donald Parham to be the elite red-zone target that he is and have Tre' McKitty coming into his second year as an elite blocker already.
With Nabers healthy at fullback and seemingly being a close friend of Justin Herbert's, there was not a concrete spot for Anderson on the depth chart. Instead of being TE4 on the Chargers, it makes much more sense for Anderson to try and get a bigger role elsewhere. You cannot blame him for that.
Do the LA Chargers need to replace Stephen Anderson?
Someone has to be the TE4 on the team, regardless of it that player is on the active roster or is on the practice squad. So while someone will technically replace Anderson in that role, the Chargers do not have to go out searching for that replacement.
Hunter Kampmoyer is the only other tight on the roster so he becomes the de facto TE4 for the 2022 season. And quite frankly, the Chargers are fine if they just rolled into the 2022 season with that being the case.
The team probably will still look to bring in competition for Kampmoyer with the intent of finding a hidden gem. Do not expect the Chargers to go out searching for a tight end. If there is someone in the seventh round that the Bolts can take that also has special teams value then that is likely the earliest a tight end will be picked. An undrafted free agent is also a possibility as well.
And while that may not seem like enough, keep in mind that Stephen Anderson was an undrafted free agent who spent two years with the Houston Texans and one year with the New England Patriots before joining the Chargers.